Laurelwood Brewing Co. is bottling Fresh Hop beers for the first time in 2014 ,including the popular Fresh Hop Workhorse IPA and Free Range Red. Brewmaster Vasili Gletsos reveals the full lineup and release schedule for all five of Laurelwood’s fresh hop beers this year.
Brewmaster Vasili Gletsos put out his versions of Fresh Hop Workhorse IPA and Free Range Red a few years ago, and they have since been known as among the best annual fresh hop releases. In 2014 Laurelwood has been the first brewer in Portland to release a fresh hopped beer in the Centennial fresh hopped Workhorse, and there are five more fresh hop beers in the works.
To gain some insight on brewers’ techniques with using the vastly more unstable fresh hops with their delicate hop oils, I have been talking to brewers about their approach. Vasili writes, “the process I have settled on over the 9 years of making these beers is exclusively cold side of process, which I have focused over the last 5, starting with Fresh Hop version of Mac’s Amber at Portland Brewing Co.” Most brewers will tell you that you need 5 to 10 times more fresh hops than you would dried and kilned hops, but exactly when and how they are added during the brewing process is another matter. Adding about 3lbs of hops per barrel (all post-fermentation) is a jumping off point for Vasili at Laurelwood that becomes less about the science. “No equations, just by feel and objective, i.e., what do I want the hops to contribute and how much, and by how much patience we have stuffing hops into mesh bags.”
If all goes according to Laurelwood’s plan they will bottle 30-45 cases of Fresh Hop Workhorse and Fresh Hop Free Range Red on September 10th for sale out of the brewery and at small independent bottle shops!
Perhaps most importantly, when asked whether he prefers the term Fresh Hop or Wet Hop, Vasili replied, “I use the term Fresh Hop to refer to these beers and get confused when people start talking about Wet Hops.”
Here is a rough release schedule for all of Laurelwood’s fresh hop beers coming out this year:
FH Workhorse w/Centennial – now!
FH Workhorse w/Chinook – 9/5
FH Laurelfest Lager w/Sterling – 9/5
FH Red w/Cascade – 9/8
FH Workhorse w/TBD, likely sexy IPA hops (Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra or the like that we will pick up from Yakima) – 9/15